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September 12, 2011
Is This A Future For Audiobooks?
Long-time readers may remember a few years back (2005) there was a minor kerfuffle
when Neil Gaiman had some difficulty getting permission from his publisher to post a free listening sample of one of his audiobooks. Since then Gaiman has continued to do audiobooks of his own works and occasionally serves as reader for others. However, not much has been made of those online, and the world of audiobooks has slowly grown in stature and notice. In 2009, Gaiman posted what he labeled the "end of the audiobook argument"
with several links and samples of his own audiobooks.
Now, Gaiman has started his own audiobook label using the tools of ACX, the Audiobook Creation eXchange. As with other book labels this one exists not just to promote one man's work - though his name will definitely raise notice - but to find and promote audiobooks of quality by new and existing authors. ACX is a self-described "marketplace" that focuses on the aspects of (audio)book publication and promotion that are usually handled by traditional labels - publication, distribution, marketing, promotion, rights management and so on.
ACX also has a wealth of self-help and learning materials for people who are trying to navigate the business side of things; for example, they have a simple walk-through on various business terms you can establish through them, grants of rights, and so on. They have boilerplate business documents, and FAQs to try and make things simple.
Right now ACX appears largely to be a front end for Audible.com but there's no reason they couldn't serve the same function with different partners, which leads to the question - is this a better way for people wanting to get their audiobooks published to go? Traditional publishing houses seem to be spending a lot of energy suing to keep people from donating books to libraries and not a lot of energy on finding and promoting new audiobooks and new audiobook authors. So there's clearly something of a business vacuum to be filled; here's hoping it can be filled profitably.
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